Heritage High beats Paloma Valley for City Bragging Rights

Heritage High School football players celebrate at midfield with the Menifee City Championship trop...

Heritage High School football players celebrate at midfield with the Menifee City Championship trophy.
When it was over, Jamal Morrow was all smiles.

"We've been in that situation before; it didn't faze us," the senior running back said about the Heritage High football team's comeback from a late deficit against crosstown rival Paloma Valley Friday night. "That's when it's winning time."

That's exactly what it was for the Patriots, who rallied from a 13-10 deficit with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to defeat Paloma Valley 24-13 before a capacity crowd at Marion Ashley Stadium.

Ashley himself presented the city championship trophy at midfield to the Patriots, who overtook a strong Paloma Valley team with a solid ground game in the final period.

Heritage running back Sione Takitaki picks up a first down
in the fourth quarter.
Morrow, who already had rushed for more than 1,300 yards coming into the game, gained 227 more and scored two touchdowns Friday night. That helped the Patriots improve their season record to 7-1 and kept them in first place in the Sunbelt League with a 3-0 mark.

It wasn't easy, however. Paloma Valley (6-2, 1-2) took a 13-10 lead late in the third quarter when quarterback Brent Boehm ran in from 1 yard for a touchdown. At that point it looked like the Wildcats, who had struggled to find offense in the first half, might finally be putting it together.

Soon after, however, Heritage put together one of its familiar ground drives, marching from its own 35-yard-line to the end zone, capping it off with an 8-yard run by quarterback Mat Bradshaw. Logan Netter added the PAT kick for a 17-13 Heritage lead.

Paloma Valley tried to answer with a drive of its own but lost its last opportunity to regain the lead when Boehm was intercepted by Heritage's Nick Avne on a tipped pass with 3:17 remaining. Moments later, Morrow scored the second of his two TDs with a 6-yard run.

Paloma Valley coach Bert Esposito meets with his players
during a timeout.
In the second quarter, Morrow raced 85 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown, adding to his already impressive numbers this year.

"Paloma Valley has a great defense, but our O line really stepped it up," Morrow said. "We went to work late in the game and just took it to the house."

Heritage coach Kraig Broach said the scoring drives in the fourth quarter were typical of Heritage's punishing ground game.

"We were just gonna pound it," he said. "That's what we do. It was a physical game, but I have to give credit to the players. I'm happy with how hard they worked tonight."

The game began on an emotional note when local dignitaries joined Heritage officials in honoring the memory of Donovan Adams, a standout Heritage football player who graduated last June and was killed in a car accident soon after. His mother and other relatives were presented with his No. 2 jersey. On hand for the event were Menifee Mayor John Denver, Superintendent of Schools Jonathan Greenberg and Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley.

Members of Donovan Adams' family were presented with his No. 2 jersey in a pregame ceremony.


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